My Aunt Ethel’s husband Dicky Graveny was a sculptor. He made wonderful little portraits and he carved chess sets in wood. He had a studio in back of their Chelsea flat where he also did drawings for architects. I would phone before going to school and ask him if he was available to take me to a museum. When he did, he’d take me to the National and the Tate. He’d give me a short history lesson where and when the painter lived and how he did things. I got hooked and plied him for more.
One of the paintings we viewed at the National Gallery was Jan van Eyck’s ARNOLFINI PORTRAIT (1434). It mystified me. I wasn’t sure how to think about what I was looking at it was so exacting, so real, the figures in the mirror, the orange, the light coming through the window, the couples’ hands. How did he do this? I was ten years old and it was beyond me.
There were no art classes in schools that I went to during the time I was in England. I did have one class in marionet making but that wasn’t in school it was at a center that gave art classes. I was ten and I wanted to be an artist.
May 9, 2021